Skype has been one of the top downloaded apps for the iPhone since its release last week, even though Apple bowed to AT&T in the U.S. to prevent the VoIP program from working on 3G. US Skype users are relegated to finding a WiFi hotspot to take advantage of Skype on the iPhone, something we’re not surprised to see. Phone carriers are no doubt concerned that cheap VoIP calls will cost them talk minutes so they do whatever they can to prevent that.
T-Mobile Germany is following AT&T’s path by also prohibiting Skype use over 3G but extending that ban to WiFi hotspots they operate. That’s right, T-Mobile Germany is prohibiting the use of Skype over any network they own, 3G or otherwise.
The reasons, say T-Mobile, are purely technical rather than economical. A spokesman for T-Mobile told German media that the company has been in fact blocking all VoIP applications over its mobile network for two years.
“There are two reasons for this – because the high level of traffic would hinder our network performance, and because if the Skype program didn’t work properly, customers would make us responsible for it.”
The people behind the world’s leading VoiP application are not impressed. Skype’s general counsel, Robert Miller, has called the decision “an April’s Fool joke at the expense of Skype users in Germany”.
“What amazes me is that Skype is the number one download on the App Store in Germany, and yet the country’s dominant telecom operator has already made it known that it would block the use of Skype on iPhone (and on BlackBerry), both for its mobile network customers, and at its Wi-Fi hotspots” Miller wrote on the company’s blog.
This donnybrook is going to get worse with Skype set to release shortly on the BlackBerry platform. The wider it gets spread the more active these carriers are going to be to block its use. It’s also unsettling to see Skype being blocked by anyone over WiFi. That’s a good reason to call for a boycott, if you ask me.
(via apc mag)